Committee Updates: Racial Equity

PAT Scholarships for Aspiring Educators of Color

Scholarship applications are live on our website and will be accepted through April 19th, 2023. Please see the links below to download an application with instructions to apply.

Scholarship Selection Committee

PAT members of color are invited to join this important committee to decide scholarship recipients. Register here.

Thursday, April 20th, @ PAT Office, time TBD. Release time and a substitute will be provided for union work.

PAT PAC School Board Candidate Endorsements

School Board Candidate Endorsements:

The Portland Association of Teacher PAC Board is proud to endorse the following candidates for PPS School Board:

PAT PAC Endorsements are chosen by the elected PAT PAC Board after researching and interviewing all candidates.  Any PAT member who contributes at least $10 per year to PAT PAC may vote for the PAC Board members who represent them in this process. PAC funds are entirely separate from your dues dollars, which may never be used to help candidates. 

Please visit our PATPAC page for more information on our endorsement process and previous 

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Committee Updates: Substitute Committee

Make sure you ASK every Substitute Educator you see to join PAT

  • Stress the importance to all members at your school of asking Substitutes to join PAT, if they are not already members
  • Review the Top Reasons to be a PAT Member for Substitutes and Elements of a Good Ask with members during your 10 minute meeting

Committee Updates: Legislative

Postcards to Your State Legislator

For this month’s PAT 10 minute meeting we are all writing postcards to our State Legislators. Please connect with your building rep about this organizing action. Write your legislator a friendly and personal message on the postcard. Here are some topics:

  • Your support for HB 3221 which would keep more bond money in PPS
  • Your support for HB 2703 which would make class size a mandatory part of bargaining for ALL schools
  • An example of your school’s lack of resources and ask them to keep it in mind when passing the state budget

Find your legislator's name and formal mailing address here

Find your legislator's name and formal mailing address here

Interested in Going to Salem to Lobby?

  1. Go with other members on March 29th during Spring Break (we will give you $$ for gas and lunch)
  2. Go on your own another day in Spring Break (we will still give you $$ for gas and lunch)
  3. Express interest on a Lobbying day the week of April 24th, we will try to get as many interested members release time

Bargaining Brief, March 7th, 2023

Today your PAT Bargaining Team met with PPS management for our 5th bargaining session. PAT has already presented our full package of proposals to PPS management along with several counter-proposals. PPS came to the table today with proposals on Compensation, Retirement, and Extended Responsibility. Although we are still far apart on certain issues, we did make progress today when we tentatively agreed (TA’d) on Article 4: Dues and Payroll Deductions and Article 25: Complaint Procedure. 

PPS Management began the session with a presentation about the fiscal situation at PPS and student to staff ratios to demonstrate PPS’ commitment to using funds to increase staff. The PAT team asked questions about the data and pointed out the concerns we had about the lack of context: Which staff are included in this count? Does this include the district special programs and charter schools? Luckily following our caucuses, they were able to bring more information to clarify the difference between class size and a student to staff ratio, sharing a graph explaining the class size distribution across the district. We believe that transparency is only possible by providing the facts ALONG with context for the facts: Staff to student ratio is NOT equivalent to class size.

We are glad PPS Management finally completed their initial proposal by giving us financials. Unfortunately, the financial proposal is woefully inadequate. PPS Management has proposed a 2.5% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) when inflation is over 6%. In the slideshow they shared, they conflated the increased income that comes with experience with a COLA, reporting that educators not yet at the top of our scale will have their salary increase close to 5.9% each year. The steps on our salary schedule are not, and have never been, part of our COLA.

In contrast to the fiscal overview provided by PPS, the testimony from our PAT educators clearly demonstrated that our schools are in a state of emergency. We want to thank Nina Senaga-Freauff, Moira Finnegan, and Kernan Willis for sharing powerful testimony with PPS management about the lived experiences and conditions in our Special Education programs. The testimony they shared was powerful and brought several of us in the room to tears.  We sincerely hope to see counter proposals from management that demonstrate they are prepared to meaningfully respond to the extreme needs of students and educators that were highlighted in today’s testimonials. 

We know the last two years have been financially challenging for everyone. The District’s unwillingness to recognize that reality with the proposals they made is an insult to our hardworking educators who’ve been so deeply impacted by the increasing cost of living in Portland.

We will be back at the table on April 4th, 2023. You can always watch us live on our YouTube page and catch up with the sessions from today 1, 2, 3.


In Solidarity,

Steve Lancaster, Chair

Francisca Alvarez

Samara Bockelman

Julia Fogg

Thea Keith

Charity Powell

Bargaining Brief, February 22nd

Hello Educators,

Today your PAT Bargaining Team met with PPS management for our 4th bargaining session. PAT has already presented our full package of proposals to PPS management along with several counter-proposals.

Our team was disappointed to learn that, despite promising to bring their financial proposals to our session today, PPS management showed up empty-handed. As such, we are still waiting to hear how PPS management is planning to address some of our member’s biggest issues, including compensation (Article 12) and retirement (Article 15).

We have offered PPS management 19 additional dates for bargaining. They have only agreed to 4 additional dates, 5 if we accept their offer to meet outside of our work year on June 22nd.

These actions demonstrate that PPS management is either unable or unwilling to take these negotiations seriously. Although we were ready to discuss a number of different topics, we ultimately had to walk away from the table owing to PPS management’s lack of preparation.

We understand the dire situation our educators, students and school communities are facing. We support educators demanding safe, sustainable and equitable schools for every student. We cannot achieve this goal if the District is unwilling to meet more than once every 2-3 weeks.

PPS management repeatedly claims we have “shared values.” However, it is hard to believe what they say when we see what they do. 

We have been told there will be about 250 un-assignments this year. That is 250 educators without a defined position for next year. 250 educators waiting to see if this contract will lead to better working and learning conditions. 

Our next full day of bargaining is on Tuesday, March 7th.  We sincerely hope that PPS management will bring their full financial proposal to the table.

In Solidarity,
Your PAT Bargaining Team
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Francisca Alvarez
Samara Bockelman
Julia Fogg
Thea Keith
Charity Powell

Portland Association of Teachers

Bargaining Brief, February 14th, 2023

Hello Educator,

Today your PAT bargaining team met with District administrators. We spent most of the session discussing academic freedom and the impact of testing on instructional time.

As professionals, we know that it’s our job to teach in a way that reaches every student. This is why we’ve fought so hard for our academic freedom, so we can determine the best materials, instructional practices and assessments for our students. 

Unfortunately, as we explained to the District’s team, their rigid implementation of new curricula is making it harder for educators to serve our students, to ensure they can see themselves in the books we read, or to adapt the way students demonstrate understanding. It was disturbing to hear PPS management suggest that adopted texts with racist depictions of different groups can be used as a “learning experience”.

From PPS' Wit and Wisdom Adoption Page
From PPS' Wit and Wisdom Adoption Page

We also stressed how many hours we are losing to unnecessary standardized tests and were surprised to hear District administrators claim that we only spend between 4 to 12 hours a year, on average, administering standardized tests across PPS.

Today’s session made it clear how far apart both sides are at this stage. We highly encourage everyone to tune into our next session, Wednesday February 22, when the District team will be presenting their financial proposals.

You can watch today’s session online and read more about our proposals on the PAT website.

In Solidarity,
Your PAT Bargaining Team
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Francisca Alvarez
Samara Bockelman
Julia Fogg
Thea Keith
Charity Powell

Portland Association of Teachers

Bargaining Brief, January 31st, 2023

Dear Educator,

We hope you have had a chance to check out our 2023 Bargaining Platform, and all the critical improvements we’ll be fighting for this year. You can find out more on our website including:

Today we met with PPS administrators to hear their proposed changes for our collective bargaining agreement. You can watch the session on our PAT YouTube channel.

One big elephant in the room was the District budget. Although their team was not ready to present any specific economic proposals, there was plenty of handwringing over inadequate state education funding and how that will impact bargaining. 

Many of you got a picture of this in today’s staffing discussion, where among other things we’ve heard they’re closing one school and phasing out 50 TOSA positions.

But there’s plenty to be worried about in what they did present. 

PPS administrators want to:

  • Eliminate the internal round of hiring.
  • Extend the length of the school year on a school-by-school basis (adding up to 3 Professional Development days and 3 Instructional days).
  • Eliminate the PAT Sick Leave Bank and force educators to rely on Oregon’s paid family leave law.
  • Gut just cause protections, removing an educator’s ability to go to arbitration for dismissals and terminations.

It’s clear that if we want to make big changes in PPS, we’ve got our work cut out for us, so please make sure and sign the petition supporting our PAT Bargaining platform and start talking to your colleagues about what’s at stake in these negotiations. We really hope you’ll take time to share your story or even make a 30 second video illustrating how these issues are affecting you and how our proposals will benefit your students.

We know that if we stand together it’s possible to address the critical issues facing students, educators and our school communities.  

Tune in February 14 for our next bargaining session, where we’re fighting for smaller class sizes and hard caps, increased planning time, expanded mental health supports, additional special education services, racial equity and restorative justice.

In Solidarity,

PAT Bargaining Team
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Francisca Alvarez
Samara Bockleman
Julia Fogg
Thea Keith
Charity Powell
Portland Association of Teachers

Bargaining Brief, January 30th, 2023

Hello Educator,

Today your PAT bargaining team met with PPS administrators and shared PAT's vision for great public schools.

Our comprehensive package of proposals reflect the priorities you’ve shared over the past few months, through bargaining surveys, listening sessions, and school site meetings, including:

  • Smaller Class Sizes and Caseloads, With Hard Caps
  • Safe and Healthy Schools
  • Racial Equity and Restorative Justice
  • Competitive Salaries and Benefits
  • Expanded Early Learning and Preschool
  • More Teaching, Less Testing
  • Additional Special Education Services
  • Expanded Mental Health Services
  • Housing Assistance for At-Risk Families
  • Real Community Connections

We encourage you to review our bargaining platform, watch our video about the proposals (language starts at 5:23), the slideshow with the proposals and sign the petition supporting these demands. For those who want to dive deeper, you can review our comprehensive package of proposals online.

We know the stakes couldn’t be higher. 

Our students and communities are grappling with more urgent, unmet needs than ever. We can’t simply go back to the way schools were before the pandemic because, as educators know firsthand, the status quo over the past two decades has severely short changed our students and we cannot allow current conditions to stand.

Our bargaining proposals address these skyrocketing needs of our students in a number of areas, including mental health, special education, housing, and racial equity. We know what it will take for public schools to become an anchor for safe, stable, and equitable communities, and our proposals lay that foundation.

These proposals also address what it will take to recruit and retain great educators. Our profession is already undercompensated. Without cost of living adjustments that are at least equal to inflation, professional educators will fall even further behind.

Our proposals will ensure educators have enough time to do their job, with more time to plan, grade, communicate and collaborate with meaningful increases in educator directed time to support students.

Finally, our proposals call for hard caps to class size/case load to ensure that educators are able to give students the individual attention they need and deserve.

As we come out of the turbulence of the last three years, there is an understandable desire to return to normal, but the old normal wasn’t working. The new normal we are living now absolutely cannot be allowed to stand. 

We have to change the conversation, and our bargaining proposals reflect this goal. Our proposal is without question ambitious, but our students deserve nothing less.

In Solidarity,
PAT Bargaining Team
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Francisca Alvarez
Samara Bockleman
Julia Fogg
Thea Keith
Charity Powell

President's Message: Budgets are Moral Documents

Hello Educators,

What a return to the school year! I’ve been thinking a lot about the transformative nature of our Bargaining Proposal and the way systems are changing here at PAT. This, in conjunction with the new budgets being set at the district and state level, has me feeling like I’m Charlie Day using red yarn to connect different paths forward.

Bargaining and Budgets:

We are at a pivotal moment in our movement towards fully funded public schools. Right now, 3 major discussions are taking place:

  • PPS’ process for the 2023-24 Budget begins: PPS held a meeting with labor leaders to share that (surprise!) it is unsustainable to use our reserves to make up for our budget shortfall. We need a State School Fund budget of at least $10.6 Billion in order to maintain Current Service Levels. Last biennium, the budget was $9.3 Billion. We lost dozens of classroom educator positions in the last budget cycle. Now more than ever, we need to ensure we have safe staffing levels in our schools. PAT also believes that a review and restructuring of non-building based administrative positions could support finding ways to improve student and educator experience while reducing the budget.
  • The Oregon State School Fund Budget for Biennium 2023-25 being Debated: During this session, the Oregon Legislature will be deciding on school funding for the next biennium (SY2023-24 and SY2024-25). According to the Quality Education Model, in order to have K-12 class size averages of 20 students, full time school nurses and school counselors at the nationally recommended 1:250 ratio, it will cost the state $11.9 Billion over the two years. The estimated proposal listed in the ODE report is $9.372 Billion. 
  • Student Success Act Application cycle ramps up: ODE has provided new guidance on the fund applications, as it is now integrating 6 different programs into one: High School Success (HSS), Student Investment Account (SIA), Continuous Improvement Planning (CIP), Career and Technical Education - Perkins V (CTE), Every Day Matters (EDM), Early Indicator and Intervention Systems (EIIS). The guidance came down February 2022, and plans are reaching the public comment stage now, during Winter 2023. Keep an eye out for communications from PPS about these “engagement sessions''. See the Legislative Report from 2022 HERE.

This means we have a very clear path forward to fully funding our schools at the state level. PAT’s Legislative Committee is and will continue to work closely with the Oregon Education Association (OEA) Government Relations Team to identify lobbying and organizing opportunities for advocacy. The Bargaining Team and Committee will continue to keep these numbers in mind as we push forward our most ambitious proposal yet.

Solidarity Forever

Budgets are moral documents. They show us what we collectively prioritize and are willing to fund. Our school system and our students can no longer maintain after decades of underinvestment and mismanagement. The current timeline is perfect for all educators, students, families, management and community to stand up and advocate for what we know our students deserve.

I believe in us. I believe we can change this world for the better. We do that one button wearing campaign, one conversation, one rally, one step at a time. We do that together.

And in case no one told you today, you are awesome and we love you!

Take Care,
Angela Bonilla
PAT President

Know Your Contract: Probationary Educators Performance Evaluations - Heads Up!

Probationary educators must be evaluated each year during their 3-year probationary period. The process is described in the contract and the Educator Handbook for Professional Growth and Evaluation.  Performance ratings must align with the PPS Performance Evaluation Rubric and ratings must be based on direct evidence included in the written evaluation.

Upcoming Events: Bargaining and PAT Committees


  • Bargaining-- Monday, January 30th & Tuesday, Jan. 31st! Set your reminders! Wear your buttons & Blues! 

PAT Committees and Meetings at PAT Office: RSVP Today

  • Tuesday, Jan. 31st- 4:30-6:30 PM Substitute Committee 
  • Wednesday Feb. 1st-4:30-6:30 PM *Advocacy, Legislative, PAT/PAC Committee 
  • Thursday, Feb. 2nd-4:30-6:30 PM Internal Organizing 
  • Wednesday, Feb. 8th-4:30-6:30 PM *Bargaining, +Racial Equity, Instructional & Professional Development Committees 

*Marks closed committees

+Marks affinity space for BIPOC educators 

For all upcoming events, please see the PAT calendar and OEA calendar.

PAT Trainings at PAT Office-Hold Your Spot Today!

Hold your spot today!

Legislative, History, and Unionism

  • Monday, January 30th- Understanding the Attacks on Public Education in Oregon and How We Fight Back (4:30PM-6:30PM at PAT) 

Advocacy Trainings

  • Monday, February 6th- Best Practices of Handling Plans of Assistance (4:30PM-6:30PM via Zoom)
  • Monday, February 13th- Beginning Building Rep Training (4:30-6:30 PM at PAT office)

Secrets of a Successful Organizer

  • Saturday, February 25th - Secrets of a Successful Organizer Training (10AM-4PM)

RSVP Here!

See our flyer for more training opportunities through the year!

BLM Week of Action

Black Lives Matter Week of Action (BLM WOA) is fast approaching (February 6th-10th) and PAT’s Racial Equity and Social Justice Community Outreach Committees encourage all educators to take part. The PPS school board unanimously voted to adopt a resolution encouraging educators to take part in this powerful event. Building reps already have a sign up sheet with a link to the BLM WOA participation pledge and for collecting size information for your beautiful BLM PAT Tee Shirt  (optional $10 donation). You can PLEDGE in advance now and then connect with your building rep next week to provide tee shirt information.

The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: More Than a Dream

By the time you read this, you may have concluded your teaching about MLK or you may already have your lesson plans in place. We know as educators that every day is an opportunity to build on previous lessons and, as needed, to expand, correct, or provide new perspectives. 

The SJCO and RE committees are well aware that most of us experienced a sanitized version of Martin Luther King Jr. in our own educational experience, one in which he was elevated as a lone hero with a singular dream of peace. This simplification gets used against those who disrupt racism in a supposed “non-peaceful” manner. The focus on “I have a dream…” allows many to lean into the idea that simply loving each other will solve the harms of racist systems. With a narrow memory of desegregation as his primary aim, many rest in some relief that his dream has become reality, disregarding the simultaneous beliefs Dr. King had about worker’s rights, advocating for the houseless, and anti-war sentiments, not to mention that while segregation may not exist in law, in reality it continues to this day in many ways.

We remember that Dr. King believed in non-violence, but push to the side the violent resistance he was met with. We remember him as the leader, and minimize the vast network of accomplices and allies he was in community with. We remember the strength of his voice and his speeches in soundbites, but have not taken in the fullness of his message and calls to action, particularly white people.

If any of this describes your experience, you are in an opportune position to disrupt the legacy of sanitizing Dr. King’s work. This link from the Zinn Education Project, The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You Won’t Read About in Textbooks, has some wonderful resources to get you started. There are lesson plans, adult reading, and a one hour recording of a webinar from earlier this month hosted by Jeanne Theoharris (author of “A More Beautiful and Terrible History, the Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights” and “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks) and Jesse Hagopian (co-editor of “Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice”).

If you are someone who has a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Civil Rights Movement (past and present) and Dr. King’s role amongst many collaborators and how his philosophies developed and changed over time, we hope you will share your wisdom with your colleagues and with us! What does racial and social justice education look like in your classroom, in your team or department? How does it disrupt the whitewashing of Dr. King? How do you connect it to today's BLM demands? There is strength in numbers and in transparency… the more we share with one another our efforts, the more inspired and brave others may become to elevate this important work!

Racial Equity & Social Justice + Community

Here are a few events that we have been up to as we seek to develop and strengthen bonds with our Portland community:

Monthly coalition meetings with our PPS partner unions: In these meetings, we learn about the successes and needs of all union employees and discuss how we can support one another.

Community Listening Sessions: By now you have probably heard about these! The first was at Harriet Tubman Middle School and the next two were at Scott & Rigler Elementary Schools today. The purpose of these sessions is to build connection and engagement with community members to vision-dream what our schools could be.

Don’t Shoot PDX 9th Annual Reclaim MLK Jr. Day March

PAT Members participated in the Don’t Shoot PDX 9th Annual Reclaim MLK Jr. Day March & an awesome screen printing event at PNCA! Look out for more opportunities to connect with Don’t Shoot Portland and community during Black History Month & Black Lives Matter Week of Action, Feb. 6th-10th, 2023.


Membership Committee-First PAT Social a Success!

Our Membership Committee hosted their first PAT Social of the year at Shine. What a blast! Thank you to all who joined us! We look forward to seeing you at a PAT training or event soon!

Friday, January 27th, 10:00AM and 6:00PM: Community Listening Sessions at Rigler and Scott

Join PAT and community members to discuss a shared vision for the future of our public schools!

RSVP today and share with parents!

Friday, January 27th, 10AM-11:30AM-- Light Refreshments served at 9:30AM
Rigler ES @ Portable 6
5401 NE Prescott St
Portland, OR 97218
Friday, January 27th, 6PM-7:30PM Dinner served at 5:30PM
Scott School @ Gymnasium
6700 NE Prescott St
Portland, OR 97218
Spanish Translation and childcare provided.

See our fliers here and below.

PAT Training Opportunities this January and February

Thursday, January 26th, 4:30 PM: Racial Equity Training, Part One

RSVP here to save your spot.

We're excited to continue our training program with our first Racial Equity training session on Thursday, January 26th at 4:30PM at the PAT office. Please see our flier for all of the exciting trainings we're offering our members this year!